ITOCHU Announces Acquisition of Shares in One of the World's Leading Pulp Producers METSA FIBRE Oy in Finland

–Secures Position as a leading global Pulp Trader–

April 11, 2012

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has reached a agreement with METSA GROUP (hereinafter “METSA GROUP”) to acquire 24.9% of the shares outstanding in METSA FIBRE Oy (hereinafter “METSA FIBRE”), one of the world’s largest softwood pulp producers, which sells primarily to the European and Asian markets. The value of the share acquisition is 472 million euro (approximately 50 billion yen), making this one of ITOCHU’s largest investments in the non-resource area. (This acquisition will be formally completed after obtaining the necessary approvals pursuant to anti-monopoly law, as is required in Europe.)

METSA FIBRE has four pulp mills in Finland with an annual production capacity of 2.4 million tons, making it one of the largest softwood pulp producers in the world. As global demand for paper rises, the main raw material, northern softwood, which takes about 80 years to grow, is a scarce resource but METSA FIBRE is highly cost competitive as it receives stable raw material supplies from METSA GROUP, which owns abundant, high-quality forest resources in Finland.

ITOCHU and METSA FIBRE began their relationship in the 1970s with import transactions to Japan and, in September 2004, started a formal sales alliance. ITOCHU markets METSA FIBRE softwood pulp in the Asian market as an exclusive agent and METSA FIBRE markets ITOCHU’s CENIBRA hardwood pulp in parts of the European hardwood pulp market.

ITOCHU has an established sales network primarily in China, North America and parts of Europe with hardwood pulp from CENIBRA of Brazil at its core. Actual results for fiscal 2011 also show that, among the world’s major pulp traders, ITOCHU handled the greatest volume of 2.15 million tons during the year. Following this share acquisition, new commercial rights will be obtained for handling part of METSA FIBRE softwood pulp in the softwood pulp market. As a result, ITOCHU will confirm its leading global position in pulp trading, expanding its sales network and further strengthening its paper pulp business.

About Metsä Fibre

Name of company Metsa Fibre Oy
URL[Open in a new window]
Head office Revontulentie 6, 02100 Espoo, Finland
Representative Ilkka Hamala (President and CEO)
Established 1973
Number of factories 4 pulp factories (Finland), 1 saw mill (Russia)
Sales 1,301 million euro (fiscal year 2011 actual)
Number of employees 873 (as of December 31, 2011)

About Metsä Group

Name of Group Metsa Group
URL[Open in a new window]
Representative Kari Jordan (President and CEO)
Group parent company Metsäliitto Cooperative
Group subsidiaries Metsä Fibre, Metsä Tissue, Metsä Board, Metsä Wood, Metsä Forest
Sales 5,346 million euro (fiscal year 2011 actual)
Number of employees 13,046 (as of December 31, 2011)